American Morning

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August 8th, 2011
05:36 AM ET

Talkback: Do the poor share responsibility for our economic woes?

According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 44 million Americans – one in seven – live below the poverty level.

While some argue that it is time for lawmakers to put reducing poverty back on the national agenda, others, like the conservative Heritage Foundation, claim that poverty statistics can be misleading.

Talkback: Do the poor share responsibility for our economic woes?

We want to know what you think. Your answer could be read on American Morning.

Filed under: AM Asks
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Dokron

    definitely NOT! The poor do not run the country and did not get america in the mess it is in.But they are the ones suffering from the decisions made by rich gov officials, the ones who get all the tax breaks.I wonder how many people american congressmen have hired with THEIR tax savings?

    August 9, 2011 at 7:10 am |
  2. Linda

    How can the poor be responsible for the economy when the Rich Party(i.e. Republicans) have control of Congress? We can't even get them to let us be involved. I think we need to get rid of the electoral college and go back to one person, one vote. I don't appreciate the fact that my vote doesn't count because I can't buy a lobbyist.

    August 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  3. unemployed because of the economy

    What RICH idiot came up with this question? There's no group of poor people ruining the economy. Some folks are just born into poverty & if you didn't know it's hard to overcome.

    August 8, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  4. Harold Jones

    Corporate media is to blame for our down fall. Corporate Media no longer does journalism that stopped in 2001. The medias job is to keep the general population informed and they no longer doe that. After watching CNN for years I don't believe they even have any Investigative Journalist on their payroll. It's sad that corporate profit is more important than Americans Freedom and well being.

    August 8, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  5. Millie

    No they do not share the responsibility. Many do not work because they don't want to do the work that is available. Many receive more tax free money by being on assistance than they can make working. The working poor receive tax breaks, assistance with rent, utilities, medical care, and on and on. Kids get free breakfast and free meals. Even in the summer where live. I see them driving good cars, having large screen TV's and on and on. Maybe we should look at the tax and living expenses of the working middle class. They have less cash for food, entertainment, clothing, & cars. Why? After they pay for health insurance, medical bills, tax bills, school expenses, utilities and food there is nothing left. There is one thing left. PRIDE. They can be proud to make it on their own.

    August 8, 2011 at 8:18 am |
  6. Harold Tuchel Iowa

    Look at wage negotiations and the rabid fear that Republicans have about organized labor. The idea of a fair wage and fair benefits never really existed, business and working people have always had an adversary position. Sooo having many poor in a labor pool benefits wage negotiations at all levels in favbor of business.
    Whenever the fed jockeyed interest rates or worried about inflation they NEVER worried about unemployment or the poor. The free enterprise system NEEDS poor to feed on. That keeps wages low and helps profits for the advantaged!

    August 8, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  7. Dan

    When I was growing up,the perception was that the wealthy had worked hard to get where they were, and being poor was something to be ashamed of. Today, wealthy Americans are seen as crooks who must have cheated their way to the top. As with most things,the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I don't believe the wealthy in this country are bad citizens, but the gulf between the wealthiest and the poorest is ever growing, and there is no doubt that this is the direct result of our government's policies.

    People want to work, and lead decent lives. Don't blame the battered wife for the beating her husband gives her.

    August 8, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  8. Michael L

    When did we reach this sad state where the non-workers should live as well as the workers. The incentive to work and have more and better is being lost. Just last week my wife and I witnessed someone buying peel and eat shrimp and Hagen Das ice cream with food stamps. Something is very wrong with this picture!

    August 8, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  9. Julie Hine

    There are thousands of unemployed families in Michigan sitting in kitchens with all the bells and whistles- they have underwater mortgages and can't move. They have incomes below HHS 2011 poverty line of 22$K- based on part time jobs.
    But then they have free health care and food assistance, which aren't available for those at slightly higher levels who still have other assets.

    August 8, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  10. stacy miceli

    For the first time in my life I qualify as the poor. I have been unemployed for more than 2 years. I am living off my modest 401K since my unemployment benefits were cut off. I am applying for jobs daily with no luck. I have an 11 year old son and we are rapidly running out of rent money. What do I do? Do I believe there are those who take advantage of the sytem, Im sure there are.. I call state and federal agencies and I was given the names of churches who can provide charity. I am sick to death worrying about how I will care for my son. We are not rich, I am a single mother and I am todays "poor"... someone needs to help.

    August 8, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  11. evan

    Of course not, 1st; we are all poor compared to the few thousand really wealthy and powerful folks who steer the economy and sway policy making in DC. As a fly on the wall at events in East Hampton NY, One would hear the SUPER RICH/POWERFUL talk about the rest of us as if we were cattle. They have us exactly where they want us, and all these current events are calculated, nothing is random.

    August 8, 2011 at 8:13 am |
  12. monica paiva

    Are we talking about children who only eat one meal a day and that's when school is in session? Or the elderly who are choosing pet food to eat so they can afford their medication? or hard working American's who have been laid off because corporate America would rather hold on to their profits instead? ........... hmmmmmm, let's rethink this question, please.

    August 8, 2011 at 6:51 am |
  13. Barb

    First off, the poor aren't necessarrily where they are in their life because they want to be. However, yes it causes an extra burden on the rest of us. Heat assistance, foodstamps, free cell phones, more people with all government programs to assist in health needs, free lunches for kids, the list goes on and on. Give people jobs and cut out all of this assistance and make alll our lives better.

    August 8, 2011 at 6:46 am |
  14. Cathy

    The Republican's seem to never take responsibility for their own actions. Blame the poor, blame the lame, blame the old, blame the developmentally challenged, but not the rich right? Not the one's that have the special interests groups that lead our lawmakers with their donations, not the banks who had no restraints because the Republican's don't want to keep check on them, not the 2 wars the Bush era gave us and all the debt that incurred. The Republican's have held our country back now for many decades its time they embraced the future and shift some of the heavy defense spending into a WPA for jobs program for America, their would be less poor and working poor with some compromise.

    August 8, 2011 at 6:37 am |
    • Julie Hine

      Cathy- are you waiting for the establishment of a government state? Because in the new "global economy" if you go after those with the intellect and financial ability they will simply stop participating. The government can only spend what others EARN.

      August 8, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  15. G Ohlund

    I watch the illeagel live off food stamps drive new cars and still send a big part of their check back home. I wonder who is bleeding off the system costing us in social serviices education plug the hole

    August 8, 2011 at 6:35 am |
  16. P.Bartholomai

    iI could write a book on poverty here in Fayette County.We are overwhelmed with the poor and needy who have lost hope in the American dream.Most have turned to drugs or crime,usually both.As far the subject of sharing the blame for the economic woes,my answer is yes.They take advantage of a system that allows them to do just that!But as we all know about issues like the answer is never a simple one.The responsibility is spread widely across many genres.Our politicians,our businesses and of course those of us who sit back in our comfort zones and complain but don't do anything.Come and talk to me personally,I'll show you what poverty looks like in our part of the country!

    August 8, 2011 at 6:33 am |
    • afrommi

      Apparently the poor in your town have two choices, to die or steal or mug in order to live. Then it is a sad state of affairs. We have no one to blame but the policy makers who protect the top 2% and their wealth. I have seen poverty too. It seems that the wealthy do not know what poverty is. In the US the middle class is disappearing and the poverty numbers are increasing. 98% of the population has control of ONLY 20% of the wealth. That is something to be ashamed of.

      August 8, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  17. Ron Greene

    We have a growth based economy fueled by the unrestricted depletion of non-renewable resources like timber, oil and coal. Anyone who thinks clear-cutting, fracking and mountain-top-removal are our path to restored prosperity is to blame. Our economic health is merely a reflection of our ecological health. What did you think was going to happen?

    August 8, 2011 at 6:33 am |
  18. michele borges

    I would like you to define your terms of poor. people who work and earn less than 20,000 a year take home pay, with medical benefits and a small pension? or people who choose never to work but to collect from the government and drive a lexus?

    August 8, 2011 at 6:32 am |
  19. Bob Sadowski

    Yes. They have stopped trying to apply for jobs that don't exist. Quitters!!!

    August 8, 2011 at 6:25 am |
  20. Ann W

    In my opinion, those responsible for the economic woes are the politicians. Thanks to bad judgement, arrogance, and bickering by those who were suppose to be leading our country, the "poor" group of Americans has grown considerably!!

    August 8, 2011 at 6:24 am |
  21. Jerry Land

    100% we do! I work and my annual income is 7800 dollars a year. Yes you read that right 7800 US dollars a year. I leave in low income Housing that helps pay the rent, and food stamps to feed me and my family, but still have to pay for car insurance, gas, car repairs just to go back and forward to work. My medical is paid threw the Veterans Affairs ( VA ) Hospital. I have no phone (of any type) in my home, no TV/cable/satellite dish or even a radio just to keep cost down. I have to visit my Mother if we wish to watch tv or go on the computer or do it at work which is where I am at now. We feel every thing that happens cause we are the ones that gets hit cause food goes up, gas goes up. Only thing that doesn't go up is my Pay check and it actually never meets all we need to spend on for the month.

    August 8, 2011 at 6:22 am |
  22. Vince

    Unforntunity, yes the poor need to share the burden like the rest of us. From the top to the bottom we all need to share the responsibility of getting less from the government and work more for ourselves.

    August 8, 2011 at 6:20 am |
  23. Carolyn

    The greedy bankers, lawmakers and corporations are responsible for this fiscal crisis. There's not enough in the whole world for these carnivores.

    August 8, 2011 at 6:16 am |